Waikato paua poachers bagged by MPI Fishery Officers

Two Ngaruawhaia men were recently sentenced in the Hamilton District Court for taking excess and undersize paua under Section 252(7) of the Fisheries Act 1996, after being caught red handed by a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Fishery Officer in Raglan.

Labourer Sidney Mabbett and Sickness Beneficiary Dayne Joseph appeared in court for sentencing on 12 July and were each fined $750. The paua found in their possession were also ordered forfeit to the crown and destroyed.

Mabbett and Joseph were spoken to by a Fishery Officer after being observed diving at Whale Bay in Raglan on 12 December, 2012.  An inspection of a bag carried by Mabbett found that they were in possession of 73 Paua ranging in size from 93mm to 110mm. The daily limit for paua is 10 per person and the minimum size is 125mm.

Both men claimed the paua were for a hui, however neither had obtained a customary authorisation. They both admitted to being aware of the daily limit for taking paua.

MPI Waikato/BOP District Compliance Manager, Brendon Mikkelsen says he is glad to see the courts passing down strong fines to those who choose to flout New Zealand’s fisheries laws. 

“Poaching paua is effectively theft of a national resource. Poachers not only risk fish stocks but they are stealing from their communities, and making it harder for compliant recreational fishers to enjoy fishing activities by taking more than their legal entitlement."

"Our fishery officers are entrusted with protecting our fish stocks and work tirelessly to ensure that our fisheries are sustainable, not just today but for future generations of Kiwis.”

“We also greatly appreciate the support of the community in reporting poachers and those who break the rules. Public information is of critical importance, so if you see people acting suspiciously, whether it’s on the water, at the pub or on social media - we want to know about it"

Fishery officers ask the public to report any suspicious activity in our fisheries by phoning 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are kept strictly confidential.

For further information about fishing rules and limits visit www.fish.govt.nz. Alternatively you can get up-to-date fishing rules with the free MPI fishing app by texting 'app' to 9889 or visiting http://www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/MFish+Apps/default.htm